A gun, bullets, two knives, a bullet-proof jacket, several jihadi books, and around Tk300,000 in cash were seized from the spot
The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has arrested a man, reportedly a top leader of the banned militant outfit Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), from a hideout in Mohammadpur’s Basila area of Dhaka.
Emdadul Haque alias Uzzal Master was arrested early on Thursday, RAB spokesperson Commander Khandaker Al Moin told Dhaka Tribune.
Linked to the JMB founders since 1995, RAB said, he was arrested several times in the past and served jail terms for involvement in robbery and militant activities. He claimed himself the chief of a faction of the militant group, declared outlawed in 2005.
Commander Al Moin said, acting on a tip-off, a RAB team cordoned off a building near the Basila Bridge, and made the arrest around 8am.
A gun, bullets, two knives, a locally made bulletproof jacket, several jihadi books, and around Tk300,000 in cash were seized from the scene, Commander Al Moin said.
"We have also recovered chemicals used to make detonators," he added.
The raid was carried out based on information gleaned from four militants arrested in Mymensingh on September 4.
On September 2, two people, identifying themselves as printing press workers, came to rent the second floor flat and paid a deposit of Tk5,000, Commander Al Moin said, quoting the security guard of the building, Mohiuddin.
Emdadul introduced himself as the owner of a printing press and two of his associates as its workers. But he did not submit a copy of his national ID while moving in as a tenant.
From a teacher to extremist
Emdadul joined as a primary school teacher in 1995 but was terminated over proven involvement with militancy.
According to Commander Al Moin, he was a close associate of top JMB leaders Shaikh Abdur Rahman and Bangla Bhai. He also confessed to his involvement in a Brac office robbery in Muktagachha area in 2003.
Cases were filed against him with different police stations of Dhaka and Mymensingh in 2007, 2012, 2015 and 2020 on charges of sabotage and involvement in militancy, he added.
Emdadul was also involved in the 2007 killing of Rafiq Master, his close relative who had informed the law enforcers about his militant activities.
He was also behind the bars for two years and released in 2015, but only to be arrested again with explosives.
“In recent times, the lack of leadership in the JMB has created organizational weakness and Emdadul has taken the opportunity to form a factional group and established himself the head of the faction,” the RAB official said.
He added that the group was trying to be active in several districts including Mymensingh, Jamalpur and those in the north, and had taken initiatives to form a "cyber force.”